Nearly three-dozen organizations devoted to watching cults and aberrant Christian groups are branding as “unorthodox” and “dangerous to the church” the Resurrection teaching of a professor from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.

Murray Harris, professor of New Testament exegesis and theology at Trinity, has come under attack by several theologians in recent years for teaching in two of his books the “immateriality” of Jesus’ resurrection body. The latest denouncement seems to spring from growing concerns that Harris’s doctrine parallels that of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who believe that “Christ was resurrected a divine spirit creature after offering the ransom for obedient man,” according to Jehovah’s Witnesses literature quoted in Walter Martin’s The Kingdom of the Cults.

“[Harris] denies that Jesus has human flesh and blood,” says Eric Pement, senior editor of Cornerstone magazine. “We do think it will probably play into the hands of the cults.”

Harris, in an interview with CHRISTIANITY TODAY, insisted that he has “always defended the bodily or physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” And he offered a blunt broadside to his critics, accusing them of engaging in “evangelical fratricide” and “counter-Christian activity.”

In his most recent book, From Grave to Glory (Zondervan, 1990), Harris says that Christ’s resurrection appearances were “materializations” of a “non-fleshly” body, and that believers, likewise, will be “raised from the grave in spiritual bodies,” echoing the language of 1 Corinthians 15:44.

Both Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and the Evangelical Free Church of America, its sponsor, solidly back Harris’s views as orthodox and biblical. Trinity President Kenneth Meyer claimed ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: